Two Ahmadiyyan Muslims have been arrested in Rabwah, Pakistan for preaching and calling themselves Muslims. According to a leaked charge sheet, Abul Shukoor, the owner of a bookstore, and Mazhar Ahmad, the manager were arrested for being in violation of an infamous law in Pakistan that prevents members of the Ahmahiyya sect from preaching and calling themselves Muslims.
In addition, the two have been charged for selling books published by Ahmadiyyans, a violation of Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Act, which has increasingly been used to target minorities. Both charges together carry sentences of 10 years in prison.
The arrest comes after a history of harassment by the Pakistani police against Shukoor. In January, it was reported that the police had vandalized Shukoor’s store.
When Shukoor lived in Sargodha, Punjab in 1974, his home as well as his opticial shop was ransacked and looted.
He was charged with blasphemy in 1985 because of his beliefs. In 1990, he was sentenced to three years in prison sentence after a local cleric accused him of wearing a ring with a Quranic inscription.
Ahmadiyya Muslims believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908) of Qadian was the messiah. They profess that Ahmad appeared in the likeness of Jesus to end religious wars, condemn bloodshed and reinstitute morality, justice and peace.
The sect also believes that Ahmad removed all the violent beliefs of Islam and left what is viewed as the original form by Mohammad and his early followers, essentially a peaceful theology of Islam.
According to mainstream Sunni Islam, their theology violates one of the core beliefs of Islam that Mohammed was the last in a line of prophets (beginning with Adam and including Moses, King David and Jesus). Thus, the Sunni world (which comprises the vast majority of Muslims worldwide) view the Ahmadiyyas as heretical.